Core Team

Miroslava Chávez-García

Miroslava Chávez-García is the Faculty Director of the McNair Scholars Program and a Professor of History at UCSB who has affiliated appointments with the Departments of Feminist Studies and Chicana/o Studies and Latin American and Iberian Studies. She is the author of Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s (Tucson, 2004), States of Delinquency: Race and Science in the Making of California’s Juvenile Justice System (Berkeley, 2012), and most recently, her award-winning Migrant Longing: Letter Writing across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Chapel Hill, 2018). Dr. Chávez-García served from 2016 to 2019 as Faculty Director for Graduate Diversity Initiatives, overseeing the Graduate Scholars Program, designed to retain, mentor, and matriculate first- and second-year students. She also served as a member of the UCSB Academic Senate committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. From 2013 to 2015, she served as interim Chair and Vice Chair for UCSB’s Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. While at UC Davis, her previous place of employment, she was a member of the Chicana/Latina Research Center steering committee and chaired the Chicana/o Studies Department at UC Davis. Contact: 


Veronica Fematt

Veronica Lavenant Fematt is the Program Director of the McNair Scholars Program at UCSB. Prior to her current position, Dr. Fematt was the Policy and Practice Dissemination Coordinator for the Center for Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). In this role, Dr. Fematt was responsible for cultivating and maintaining working relationships with multiple stakeholders across the CSU system, the California Community College (CCC) system, and the U.S. Department of Education to disseminate key policy, practice, and methodological lessons from the CSU HSI-STEM Systemwide Research Project. Before CSULB, Dr. Fematt was a Postdoctoral Scholar and Lecturer in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at the UCSB where she developed and taught a catalogue of courses with a specialization in Education and Chicana/o Studies (e.g., Chicanas/os in Higher Education, Critical Race Theory in Chicana/o Education). Dr. Fematt received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and Organizations from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB and her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA. Her research focuses on the community college transfer experience with an emphasis on campus climate issues such as, the stigmatization of transfer students and the manifestation of transfer student microaggressions and stereotypes at selective institutions. Her most recent work focuses on the experience of Latinx students in STEM fields. Contact:

Angelica Hernandez 

Angelica Hernandez is the Program Coordinator of the McNair Scholars Program at UCSB. Prior to her current position, Angelica was the Program Manager at REACH, a non-profit organization, in Santa Barbara. She worked with low-income and first generation college bound students by supporting them during their transition from high school to college by providing multi-year mentorship, and experiential trips. Before working in Santa Barbara, Angelica was a ENLACE Fellow at Northeastern Illinois University, she graduated in 2016 with her Master's in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education. Prior to getting her masters she graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology.  



Graduate Student Team

Jason Fly

Jason Fly is a Graduate Mentor for the McNair Scholars Program. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology. He previously achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa, where he was a McNair Scholar himself, and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to attending UCSB, he worked in a psychoneuroendocrinology lab studying the effects of stress hormones on health outcomes, and a cross-cultural emotions lab where he developed an interest in differential expressions of empathy. He was the principal investigator of an international study comparing the U.S. and Brazil on ethno-cultural empathy and racial implicit bias. Currently, his research interests include developing clinical tools to prevent and treat stress disorders related to traumatic events, specifically using narrative strategies such as cognitive empathy. His focus is around addressing socio-cultural differences that factor in prevention and treatment of at-risk and underserved populations, especially African-Americans.Contact: 


Courtney Durdle